The Block: Everyone wants open plan living areas … or do they?

Living rooms reveal so much about people; squishy and comfy, style over substance; minimalist, muck-about-space – they’re all out there.


Living rooms should be designed to be lived in. It’s the room where inevitably, someone will be doing their homework, someone else will be watching the TV or doing a puzzle and a working adult will no doubt be starting or finishing off their day.

Josh and Elyse’s space is beautiful; elegant and sophisticated and I love the floating concrete shelf. You can bet your bottom dollar that with the addition of a few cushions, it will make a neat little banquette that people will gravitate to. Their fireplace is also divine and will look stunning once there’s a roaring fire in it. But the room didn’t feel as inviting as Georgia and Ronnie’s, my pick for this week.

These two nailed the trick of creating a highly-functional yet still very stylish room design. They did particularly well with the key piece of furniture, the sofa. Their choice is low-line, can fit the whole family on it plus a dog or two and it makes that entire space feel really inviting.

Hannah and Clint have gone out on a limb with adding in a nib wall. In this day of “everybody-wants-open-plan”, it’s a brave person who actually adds in a wall. Yet I like what they’ve done. The small separation of the space may bode well for families who want to have more distinct zones. It’s a European touch and after years of Australians gravitating towards cavernous spaces where people crash about, bring it on, I say.

Sarah and Jason’s planned living and dining room. Photo: Channel Nine

I loved Jason and Sarah’s beautiful fireplace and I think it’s the best of both worlds to be able to open and close the fireplace door. But having said that, the rate they’re going, they are going to end up with one hot house with a roaring real fire plus hydronic heating. Related: The dilemma of a blank canvasRelated: Getting it right for the kidsRelated: Guest bedrooms – who are the buyers?

Sticks and Wombat need to exercise caution and restraint with their use of natural timber. I love it, but too much will leave the space feeling incredibly masculine. I hope they soon realise the golden rule when using distinctive materials – less is more.

A lot of timber leaves Sticks and Wombat’s room feeling very masculine.Photo: Channel Nine

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